A very friendly and welcome sign from China: VP Xi Jin Ping will fly to Italy and will take part to the National Day’s celebrations, to be held in Rome on June 2nd. In addition he will see high representatives of Italy’s political and economic life. Xi is the only candidate to succeed Hu Jin Tao at the helm of PRC. Very likely he will become Party’s Secretary, President of Republic and Head of China Military Commission.
Over the last few years, under this unofficial position, he started visiting the most important countries to better familiarize himself with his new responsibilities. It is a smart and foresighted move. When, in the fall of 2012 at the 18^ party’s Congress, he will take over, his crowning will be smooth, automatic, and widely expected. Since more than 20 years, the procedures for the succession are very clear. Contrary to the past, no tragic conflict occurs, no arrests and purges take place. Now, the party’s leader is collectively chosen. The decision is unanimous, a result of a long negotiation, where the ideological battle lost its predominance.
Today’s China is a more complex country than it was in the past. Its contradictions are obvious, sometimes dangerous. The Party’s secretary has to find mediation among them, without compromising growth and prosperity. Its task is to go ahead, even if the path is not easy. Xi looks a very suitable candidate. Abroad, he is reputed for his open and frank attitude, his command of English, his strong support for private entrepreneurship. He likes innovation and reforms; in other words, he is very different from a grey bureaucrat. Internally, his pedigree is impeccable. Born in 1953, he is the son of a CCP veteran, an hero of the wars against Japanese and the Kuomintang. Rehabilitated after the Cultural Revolution’s purge, Xi’s father reached top position in the party and in government (vice prime minister). After a degree in engineering, a virtual blessing for a political career, Xi took a master in theoretical Marxism and political communication. His tenure at Zhejiang Province and Shanghai Municipality (after a financial scandal hit the city) gave him full credibility of competence and a reputation of being a staunch enemy of corruption.
His next trip – a recent decision – confirms China’s interest and old friendship toward Italy, 40+ years after full diplomatic ties were fully restored. The mission goes beyond ordinary courtesy. Italy and China have resisted the temptations to antagonize each other, thus avoiding anachronistic commercial tensions. Now the floor is ready for mutual gains. Italy can offer what China needs: technological quality, expertise for the infant SMEs, prestige of its lifestyle. Even more importantly, Italy can provide a precious platform for China’s strategies and partnerships in Europe.
Conversely, China can reciprocate with financial injections, bidirectional investments, diversified cooperation in the global supply chain. So, all the prerequisites are on the field for a fruitful visit. Future political and economic goals are more important than the good results achieved so far. This is the reason why Italy should and will greet Xi Jin Ping as a friend, with a warm welcome and a sincere handshake.